With every cause, there is an effect.
For a California school district, the cause is the prospect of rallies to celebrate American patriotism and protest a court ruling banning students from wearing US flag t-shirts on Cinco de Mayo. The effect of the rallies’s promotion and subsequent hate language being used by supporters have led to of threats against high school students from Morgan Hill Unified School District (MUSD). As a result, MUSD had to alert parents about safety concerns:
Press Release Cinco de Mayo April 23 2014 by Latino Rebels
Local reports say that there are three rallies being scheduled, one from the Gilroy Morgan Hill Patriots (link here), as well as another rally being advertised on a site called PatriotAction.net. A third rally, “tagged Unity, Respect and Peace Rally —is being organized by local attorney Juan Lopez, concerned about the safety of all students, including his own…”
The Gilroy Morgan Hill Patriots (GMHP) rally has been advertised as follows through its meetup link:
I’m sure you’ve all heard by now of the 9th Circuit’s decision regarding the students at Live Oak High school who were told by the school to turn their American Flag shirts inside out or go home. We believe our U.S. Constitution (the highest law of the land) protects ALL our Freedom of Speech, 365 days a year, even on Cinco de Mayo. We will be rallying in support of EVERYONE’s right to enjoy our First Amendment Freedom of Speech. We believe these students were wrongly silenced by being sent home for wearing an American Flag shirt ~ on ANY given day in America.
Please join us as we peacefully rally with signs & American flags exercising our Freedom of Speech in protest of this unconstitutional decision. We will be wearing our American Flag shirts RIGHT SIDE OUT! If you plan to rally with the Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots we require that you RSVP on our Meetup site, our member’s Yahoogroup site or via email so that we have an accurate count of who will be rallying with our group. Once we have an accurate count we will update the exact time and spot in relation to Live Oak High School on where we will meet.
There is also an afternoon rally organized by another group (see flyer below).
That Flag Run also appears on PatriotNet’s site. The description of the rally, is virtually identical:
The following YouTube segment appears right after the announcement:
The PatriotNet post also contains examples of members sharing their comments and reasons as to why such an event should be held. The following screen grabs, to say the least, speak for themselves:
“BRING ON THE RIOTS WE ARE READY!!!!”
“Sadly there WILL be riots!!!!” Also after the alleged Flag Run organizer Jimmy Z guarantees that “no, there will no riots,” Jimmy Z also thinks that a bunch of Harleys circling the school would be a good idea. Read on.
That thread lead to this threat by a George Wrentmore, “be sure to apply OPEN MEGS and BLAST before circling the a-holes. Wes McKay then suggested that riots would occur because Democrats would want a disturbance before the November elections.
Wrentmore then went on to say, “WE HAS SOME ‘RIOTS’ BACK IN 1776…. time to stand YOUR GROUND…. THIS IS AMERICA!”
“Go home illegals the American patriot people don not want you here, we have enough parasites of our own already on welfare!!”
Even when someone on the site tried to point out the threats and the ignorance, the so-called “patriots” wouldn’t have it:
The Patriot Action comments even got a response from the other rally organizer, the GMHP:
A group led by attorney Juan Lopez calling themselves “Wethepeople MH” have publicly, falsely, and without proof, accused GMHP of making racist and violent remarks on a website not associated with GMHP. They are planning a “counter-protest” called the “Unity, Respect and Peace” rally. We don’t care what they do, except as it effects us. Their fear-mongering has caused the MH Police and MH School District to take action for fear of violence. I contacted Mr. Lopez explaining our group did not make the remarks, and asked him to join us since he’s promoting “unity”. He has not responded. As such, we have given our word that we will peacefully conduct our Exercise Our Free Speech Right ~ Flag Rally in compliance with the city ordinance (maximum 50 in attendance) and that we will not disturb the students who will be in school that day. If anyone wishes to rally with this group in the AM hour only, we REQUIRE that you sign up on this website so that we can account for the number attending and our groups message and manner.
We cannot and do not want to control anyone’s right to exercise their ability to peacefully assemble that day in front of Live Oak High School, but if you do not RSVP with us, you WILL NOT be included in our plans for the morning flag rally. Please do not show up on May 5th without having RSVP’d and ask to rally with our group. We must cut it off after we have reached 50. We urge all who do choose to come on their own, to be respectful of the students who are in classes and not to disturb or disrupt their studies. Please show all that we can peaceably assemble and put all the fear-mongering the opposition is creating to rest!
We should thank “Wethepeople MH” for all the publicity they are drawing to this issue. Perhaps we will reach more people who will come to understand that Freedom isn’t free and that you must fight for it! Evelyn Beatrice Hall said “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” This event is an excellent example of that. We disagree with what “Wethepeople MH” are saying but we will defend their right to say it. We won’t however, allow those who disagree with us to silence our voices or tuck us away in a corner where we can’t be seen or heard as they did with the Live Oak students wearing American flag shirts. We hope this event will be a teachable moment for all to better understand our Freedoms as guaranteed by the First Amendment in hopes that they will actively take steps to preserve this important freedom in the future.
The GMHP is not organizing the afternoon rally.
Sounds like a really strong condemnation of Patriot Action.
Meanwhile, a few months ago CNN gave some context about the court ruling. Here is what it reported:
The case dates back to May 5, 2010, when the principal of Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, California, asked a group of students wearing American flag T-shirts to turn their shirts inside out or take them off.
The students at the Northern California school refused, according to the appeals court’s summary of the case, and later brought a civil rights suit against the school and two administrators, arguing that their rights to freedom of expression, equal protection and due process had been violated.
Judges said the civil rights case forced them to weigh the difficult question of what takes precedence: students’ free speech rights or school safety concerns?
According to court documents, the incident occurred amid “ongoing racial tension and gang violence within the school, and after a near-violent altercation had erupted during the prior Cinco de Mayo over the display of an American flag.”
The previous year, court documents said, a group of students carrying a Mexican flag had clashed with students who hung an American flag from a tree and chanted “USA” on Cinco de Mayo, a holiday marking a famous Mexican military battle that is often celebrated in the United States.
For the record, this is how Cinco de Mayo is “often celebrated in the United States” by most Americans:
Let’s be real, this isn’t about patriotism. There is something uglier going on. We truly believe that the planned public demonstration(s) outside of Live Oak High School this Cinco de Mayo will endanger student safety. This needs to stop and stop now. What do you think? Let us know.
[…] This poem was inspired by a beautiful celebration of community, organized in response to controversy surrounding Cinco de Mayo in the small town of Morgan Hill, California. For more background on the controversy and events that inspired this poem, check out Latino Rebels.com who did an excellent job covering the story, beginning with their April 28, 2014 post here. […]
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